THROWBACK THURSDAY: REVIEWING A REISSUE
What is it about artwork from the 1930’s and 1940’s that it is immediately recognizable as being from the period? Particularly children’s book art?
The Big Snow and Other Stories is a collection of three children’s picture books by Berta and Elmer Hader. Although there is a sub-title that reads “A Treasury of Caldecott Award-Winning Tales” only The Big Snow was a Caldecott winner. The other two books were Caldecott Honor books.
One of the really nice things about a picture book is that if the story is well told, it is truly timeless and could (should) be enjoyed by generations of readers. Thanks to Dover Publishing and this reissue, these three classic stories can indeed be enjoyed by a new generation of youngsters.
In The Big Snow, woodland animals prepare for the coming winter and the impending storm. The nice touch at the end is the humans who toss some food out for the animals to help them survive the storm.
Cock-A-Doodle-Doo is the second book in the collection and this is sort of an ‘ugly duckling’ story. Here, a chicken is born in to a family of ducks and despite his being raised as a duck, he can’t escape who he really is. When he hears a rooster crowing, he leaves the safety of everything familiar to him in order to get to the roosters. This lesson of being true to yourself, seems extremely timely today — perhaps moreso than when this was first published in 1939.
The final book is The Mighty Hunter, which is the one book that might struggle in today’s market due to political correctness. A young Native American, referred to as an Indian, would rather go hunting than attend school. He hunts with a bow and arrow and is about to shoot a mouse. The mouse, however, has another idea, and leads the boy to a slightly larger animal. Each animal in turn leads the boy to still a larger animal, playing on the boy’s greed to kill something bigger. While I appreciated the ultimate goal of reminding the boy that school was a worthwhile engagement, I didn’t care for the process in getting there. This is one of those books that definitely feels dated.
This is definitely a book I would want in my collection if I had young children to whom I still read picture books.
Looking for a good book? The Big Snow and Other Stories is a reissue of three award-winning picture books that still have relevant messages and beautiful artwork.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Big Snow and Other Stories: A Treasury of Caldecott Award-Winning Tales
authors: Berta & Elmer Hader
artists: Berta & Elmer Hader
publisher: Dover Publications
paperback, 160 pages